Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Wicked Stepmother

I came across a blog written by a woman who is the stepmother of an 11 year old girl with Down syndrome. This mom is young, and pretty, and struggling with rage and resentment. Reading her posts ruined my day. I know lots of kids are ignored, unloved, screamed at, disdained, and all kinds of other descriptors that border on abused but when it is because the child has Down syndrome that hits close to home.

"I could see all these great attributes in her, attributes which she would receive compliments on almost regularly. For me, however, all I could see was the disease. Ugliness. Stupidity. Mental inabilities. Physically odd attributes. A disability. A down syndrome."

"Give her away!" I yelled at the screen, "Just give her away to a family that will love her."

What really irks me about the blog is that the whole thing is dripping in Christianity. As in this excerpt,
"Today I needed an extra dose of prayer. Perhaps I got it but ignored whatever God was trying to send my way. In fact, God knows what I need. He gives what I need every day. Yet failures threaten to take over - and oftentimes they do. This weekend (child’s name) became a full-blown nuisance. This weekend nobody really wanted her. This weekend she was tossed around from family member to family member. Tag! You're it!"

Or this gem which makes me wonder what her hands have done...
"Now, when I feel overrun with guilt over what my angry lips have said yelled or what my hands have done out of hatred, I can see that God is there beside me. He is with the ones I have hurt, too. He is their comforter and my redeemer."

WTF? I am a stepmom and an adoptive mom... I get it, it’s complicated bonding with a child who didn’t spring from your loins.

tkMy stepdaughter looked very much like her beautiful mother and growing up she made the same facial expressions as her mother (the eye roll, the FU half smile, the evil glare) and so she was a constant reminder of another woman my husband had once loved. But as much as I abhored that woman, I never took it out on my stepdaughter. I grew to love that little girl and I wanted her to love me. Now she is an adult and I see both her mother and myself in her. Hopefully she retained the best of both of us.

meeting_mgMy older adopted daughter was so alien to me. With a judge’s signature she became mine for all time... but she didn’t feel like mine. I was grossed out over her boogers, her poopcidents, sharing a straw with her... I admit that I often felt like the fulltime caregiver instead of an adoring mother. I knew that those little things that grossed me out were anachronisms still present due to her having Down syndrome. I knew that these were things beyond her control. Knowing it did not help fix my heart. I loved the idea of loving her, but I did not feel a motherly love for her. So slowly it grew that I worried there might be something seriously wrong with me. I have a best friend who fell for Masha hard, and all she ever saw was the beauty, the cuteness, the dearness of her. She would laugh at the booger kisses, share her food, and clean her up like none of that bothered her at all. Her love for my daughter was a different lens for me to see through. Her love for my daughter helped me to be the best mother I can be be to Masha.

I wonder what it would be like to combine those two scenarios and drop the cute baby phase out of it (that mom got her step kid past the toddler age). I can understand that mother’s feelings but I cannot relate to her refusal to try actually loving the kid as a possible solution to their fractured relationship. Love is not just a feeling... it is not something that happens to us or doesn’t... it is action. If I could give that mother one piece of advice I would say, "Fake it till you make it." Smile at your stepdaughter, hug her, paint her nails, forgive her her mistakes, let her play the way she wants to, praise her, protect her dignity, compliment her, be a model for her of what a Christian woman should be like. And one day you will find that you aren’t just acting in obedience to your God, but also out of a real love and enjoyment of this girl who will forever see you as what a mother is.



Kaiti said... I want to read this other blog. I'm sure I'll end up pissed but I'm interested.

Extranjera said...

I looked at the blog you're referring to and I understand your need to blog about it. I only looked at a little bit and then couldn't any more.

Somehow I didn't want to know that people like the step mother exist. I wholeheartedly agree with your advice to her and am equally disgusted by her completely fake (or at the very least extremely misguided) religiosity.

I feel so bad for the girl. So bad. So, so bad. I don't know what else to say.

Lacey said...

This is the second time I've heard about this blog. What is it? I've never seen it. How does she not get shut down from furious families!

Anna said...

Wow! Why get in a relationship with a man who has kids from a previous relationship if you can't at least "fake it" until you actually "feel" love. And like you said, Love is not a feeling, it is an action.... so true! To look at that child and to not be able to see past her differences...makes my stomache sick and my heart hurt for that little girl. SHE didn't ask for it not to work out with her parents and she definitely did not get to choose her "step-mom", but yet she is the one who is viewed as "the problem"?? I am sure she can feel just how much her step mom dislikes her, which is probably one of the reasons she does not behave well around her. What a horrible person to pull God into it all. This woman makes me sad and feel sick and I haven't even read her blog! There is a woman here where I live who does my nails and she has a "Step daughter", as she always likes to call her (not daughter, but step-daughter). It is so obvious just by the way she talks about her, that she dislikes this poor child so very much. She just takes care of her because she has to, because she married her dad. Grow the fuck up people!!

CJ said...

As a mother to a child with DS who deals with a stepmother, I want to know if Ciena's birth mother is aware of this blog and what her child endures. Print that shit out, submit it to court and then her father can blame his wife for the loss of his child in his home.

TUC said...

CJ... mama doesn't want her. If you read the father's blog you will see that evidently mama was a nut job who stabbed him.

CJ said...

He blogs too???

Anonymous said...

I too was made aware of that blog today, and I felt so sick reading the entries. I agree that love is an action, but even more worrying than her lack of love is her use of the word "hate" repeatedly in posts about the child. She also talks about feeling skeptical about the child getting confused or not understanding direction - as if the child is Satan incarnate. It's just tragic. The father comments on his wife's posts with words of sympathy for her, rather than concern for the child. It's just fucked up. The 9/31 post is enough for child services to get involved.

Victoria Keen said...

Your comment on her blog brought me here. What a sad, sad situation. You said it so well.

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